Monday, July 26, 2021

A Book I Wish I Didn't Need


St. Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer is a book I wish I didn’t need. St. Monica, whose feast day is August 27th, is best known as the mother of St. Augustine who faithfully prayed for her son who was living a wayward life. Her faith and prayers bore great fruit. Her son became one of the Church’s best-known saints, and St. Monica is now known the patron saint of mothers of children who have lost their way.

I had hoped of all the saints, I would never need to rely on St. Monica. Yet, I have unfortunately joined that group of mothers as one of my young-adult sons has left the Church and is making decisions that are breaking my heart. I know all I can do is pray and continue to offer a positive example, which brought me to this book that I found on the shelf of my parish library.

In the Foreword, founder Lisa Hendey shares her own devotion to St. Monica as she prayed many years for the conversion of her husband. She writes that “many of us turn to St. Augustine’s mom regularly for support and strength as we raise children in an increasingly secularized society.”

Authors Mike Aquilina and Mark W. Sullivan (who also happen to be uncle and nephew) then offer some background information on the lives of St. Monica and St. Augustine, saying that Monica “taught Christians how to parent their adult children.” St. Monica was born around 331 in Thagaste, North Africa. She learned the Christian faith from an elderly maidservant. Her parents chose Patricius for her husband. He was a government official, non-Christian, known for his womanizing and bad temper. Yet, in time, he came to appreciate the wife he had in Monica and converted before his death.

Their son Augustine was brought up Christian but not baptized (a common practice in those days as it was thought your chances of going to heaven were better if you were baptized close to death). When he went to Carthage for higher education, he spent his time partying and had an illegitimate son. He also was intrigued by the philosophy of the Manicheans. When he returned home with his mistress and son, Monica continued to pray and weep for Augustine. A local bishop told her that a child of so many tears would not be lost, which she took great comfort in. Monica taught Augustine’s mistress and son the faith, but when Augustine left his mother behind and went to Rome with his son, Monica was angry at God for ignoring her prayers. Not one to sit still, Monica got on a boat and followed them to Rome where she got to know Bishop Ambrose, who would play a big part in Augustine’s conversion. Monica’s endless prayers were finally answered and her son fully embraced Christianity shortly before his mother’s death.

In the pages of St. Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer, Aquilina and Sullivan discuss the lessons we can learn from St. Monica’s example. St. Monica knew what it was to feel like God was ignoring her, yet she kept praying. She was honest with God, not afraid to tell Him what she really thought. She was willing to forgive her son for how he treated her, even though we have no record that he ever asked for forgiveness. She never gossiped, instead serving as a peacemaker for those around her. She knew she couldn’t do everything on her own and sought help when she needed it. She also respected the freedom God gave her son, even when she wished he would make different decisions. Each short chapter includes a reflection, a meditation from the writings of St. Augustine, a brief practical resolution, and prayer.

St. Monica is a heavenly friend to those of us struggling with parenting wayward children. St. Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer offers hope for those with heavy hearts. 

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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Called by Name: 365 Daily Devotions for Catholic Women

 I am a big fan of daily devotionals. Whether you use them every day as part of your prayer time or pick them up from time to time for a spiritual pick-me-up, it is great to have a message intended for that day. Called by Name: 365 Daily Devotions for Catholic Women is a wonderful new entry in the devotional genre. Compiled by WINE: Women in the New Evangelization, it was edited by Kelly M. Wahlquist, Allison Gingras, & Alyssa Bormes. 

The goal of this devotional is to invite you into an intimate relationship with Jesus. "To be called by name indicates that you are known in a personal way. . . That is what the Lord desires to have with you - a personal and intimate relationship." Each day's entry is one-page long and features a Scripture passage, reflection, prayer, and response to the Lord's call. The over 75 women who share their gifts in these pages are down-to-earth and relatable. Reading these devotions is like sitting down with a group of faith-filled friends and having a personal conversation. You can start using this book any day of the year.

Called by Name would be a great purchase for yourself as an investment in your spiritual life. It also would make a lovely gift for any Catholic woman in your life. 

This post includes Amazon affiliate links. Purchases made after clicking on a link help support this site. Thank you!


Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Powerful Act of Contrition

I was recently reading All Things New: Breaking the Cycle and Raising a Joyful Family by Erin McCole Cupp. In it, she shares this Act of Contrition that she had on a prayer card. It is a powerful prayer and one worth praying on a regular basis. 

Forgive me my sins, O Lord, forgive me my sins;
The sins of my youth, the sins of my age,
The sins of my soul, the sins of my body,
My idle sins, my serious voluntary sins,
The sins I know, the sins I do not know;
The sins I have concealed so long, and which are now hidden from my memory.
I am truly sorry for every sin, mortal and venial, for all the sins of my childhood up to the present hour.
I know my sins have wounded thy tender Heart, O my Savior,
Let me be freed from the bonds of evil through the most bitter passion of my redeemer.
O my Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been.

As an aside, this is my 3500th blog post on this blog that I started back in 2005. I hope that at least some of these posts have helped someone in some way. Thank you for reading!


Image from Pixabay



A Book I Wish I Didn't Need

  St. Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer is a book I wish I didn’t need. St. Monica, whose feast day is August 27 th , is best kno...